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COVID-19: living guidelines help fix cracks in evidence pipeline

Continually updated as new research findings come out, ‘living guidelines’ provide invaluable support for clinicians having to make timely and informed decisions in treating people with COVID-19 (see Nature 593, 168; 2021 and Nature 593, 182–185; 2021).

Pioneered in Australia, these living guidelines process new clinical-trial evidence into widely accessible, practice-changing recommendations within just a few weeks, without compromising standards for trustworthiness (B. Tendal et al. J. Clin. Epidemiol. 131, 11–21; 2021). Living systematic reviews of network meta-analyses feed into every update. These include structured evidence summaries, and they are published in user-friendly formats.

Producing living guidelines for COVID-19 has required global collaboration and innovations in methods, processes and technology. They need to be widely used: living evidence and guidance have broad applications in health care beyond the current pandemic. Efficient implementation and evaluation of impact on delivered care will greatly enhance the evidence ecosystem (P. O. Vandvik and L. Brandt J. Clin. Epidemiol. 123, 166–170; 2020).

Nature 595, 172 (2021)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-01821-2

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